Revolutionary changes in summer school

By Nancy Gutierrez

The Summer School program at Lindsay Unified School District continues to show improved skill levels of the students involved in the program.

At Lindsay High School junior high students benefitted from the one-on-one teaching methods the Reading Revolution program provided.

"I liked working with high school and college teachers," student Joaquin Gomez said. "They took the time to talk to us and understand what we need."

Two of Joaquin's teachers, Daniel Weatherly a junior at LHS and Jarred Cleaver a junior at San Diego State University reciprocated Gomez' sentiments. Both said they became summer school teachers as a way to earn money during the summer.

"But, once I figured out how to teach them it was fun working with the kids," Weatherly said.

The Reading Revolution program incorporates a wide spectrum of activities. The activities include kid-friendly, easily learned phonics tools, physical activities to reinforce sound and word recognition, a consistent way to sound out and spell complex words, interactive learning games and innovative comprehension strategies.

During the school day students in the Reading Revolution classes rotate through three different groups in addition to having regular class time. In Patricia Espinoza's class students learned comprehension through question drills. One student would read a book in front of class while other students would write down questions they had regarding the story.

"A lot of this carries through to the classroom," Espinoza said. "The kids said when they were taking the test they used [strategies they learned] and that it was helpful."

The students in these programs were targeted to receive extra help in reading comprehension, and English language fluency.

"They learned sounds for individual letters and the partners that go together to make different sounds," Weatherly said. "After testing I could see that my students went up a couple of levels in reading."

Cleaver said he also noticed that students also began to build their confidence.

"They're not as shy as they were when they first began," he said. "They are more open and interactive they really broke out of their shell."

Supervising teacher Rosemary Reyna said that can be attributed to the interaction between the high school and college teachers and the junior high students.

"I am very impressed with the high school students," Reyna said. "They have had to deal with the discipline and academics. They made lesson plans."

The student teachers had a four-day training session where they learned how to teach the different components of the Reading Revolution program. They also learned how to work with students one-on-one and in group sessions. Reyna thought it wasn't enough time to learn everything but said the high school and college students taught effectively.

It wasn't just the junior high students that were taught a lesson. Both Weatherly and Cleaver said they enjoyed teaching and would definitely do it next summer. Student teacher Hector Marques reported to the LUSD board members that he learned how hard it was for teachers and said he'd make an effort to talk less in class next semester.

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